$2 Million Grant Drives Job Training in SW Michigan | #education | #technology | #training

Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren has been awarded a $2 million Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) grant from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19 and help jobseekers gain skills and transition from education and training to employment.

Lily Brewer, Executive Director of Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren commented, “We’re here to help individuals in southwest Michigan get back to work by providing a strong foundation inclusive of education and training. These funds will support the workforce of tomorrow and will provide skilled talent to our regional employers.”

The initiative, in partnership with Lake Michigan College and Southwestern Michigan College, will provide short-term education/training opportunities and supportive services for 670 individuals throughout the tri-county region over the next two years. Career navigators will help participants set career goals, identify relevant education and training opportunities, and complete requirements for college admissions and financial aid.

“We are hopeful this collaborative effort will aid in addressing the tremendous gap between industry skill needs and the number of area residents that possess those skills in southwest Michigan,” according to  Dr. Ken Flowers, Dean of Career and Workforce Education at Lake Michigan College.


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Collectively, LMC and SMC have identified 47 short-term educational programs for MiLEAP participation that spans from one days to two years in duration and lead to a credential. Prospective participants must possess a high school equivalency to receive MiLEAP services. Eligible participants will be assessed to receive supportive services to address unmet needs such as tuition, books, transportation and work-related clothing.

“Our goal is to empower area residents to take advantage of the educational opportunities that will help them advance to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand careers without taking on educational debt,” said Dr. Karen Reilly, Dean, School of Business and Advanced Technology at Southwestern Michigan College.

Individuals interested in pursuing a short-term training opportunity leading to a credential should visit miworks.org/MiLEAP.

Michigan Works! of Berrien, Cass, Van Buren specializes in educating, training, and employing individuals of all ages. They work with local businesses to find out “what keeps them up at night” and help them tackle the most pressing challenges they face, including attracting and retaining talent. For more information, visit www.miworks.org.

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